The short story: My son, Noah, has inspired our family to make sure no student in his school goes without a lunch and there is a go-fund me link at the end of this post.
The long story: One day recently as I was picking Noah up from Kindergarten, his teaching assistant, Mrs. Bailey, said “Can I talk to you when I come back from taking the rest of the kids to the bus?” (UH-OH!) “Nothing is wrong, just something interesting happened at school today that I should tell you about.” (Whew?)
As we waited for Mrs. Bailey to come back I tried to find out from Noah what happened at school that day but I got the usual “Nothing” and “Sophia is taking a long time” and “Can I have a treat when I get home?”. This is one of the many differences between my son and daughter. Sophia would have had me all up to speed in 15 seconds flat and included what outfit choices the people involved had made that day. But I digress.
When Mrs. Bailey came back she mentioned that Noah had brought money to school that day. (Oops. He is not supposed to take money to school. But he knows where his dad empties the small bills and change out of his pockets and sometimes it gets relocated to Noah’s pockets lol) But add to the story that on this particular day there was a substitute teacher, so when Noah proudly showed her his pocket treasure she said “Oh, is that your school lunch money?” To which Noah responded “Oh ya – sure.” So the substitute teacher took Noah’s money to the office and just like that – Noah had a new lunch account funded with his $7. Now, there are a few things I would like to point out.
1.) If Noah’s regular teacher or Mrs. Bailey was there at that moment they wouldn’t have asked if it was lunch money because they know that Noah brings his lunch every day.
2.) I have asked Noah before if he wants to buy a school lunch and he always says “No”. So every day we send him with a packed lunch – but he only just picks at it – rarely does he actually eat it.
3.) I don’t believe that Noah took the money to school to open a lunch account, I just think that when his teacher mentioned it sounded like a good idea at the time.
Cut to lunch. Mrs. Bailey was asking Noah to get in the packed lunch line and he announced “No, I’m buying lunch today I have an account.” Mrs. Bailey felt uncomfortable with this because she knew Noah had a packed lunch with him but he insisted and she led him through the lunch line for the very first time.
I’ll spare you the entire experience but so you get the idea – the kind lunch lady started her conversation with Noah as she does everyone “Last name?” to which Noah replied, “Oh, how are you doing today?” Oh how I love him so. The lunch lady eventually got Noah’s last name and there he was with his corn dogs, French fries, fruit and white milk. And here is the best part… HE ATE IT! Yep. He did.
And that, my friends, is the day that our Noah became a school lunch kid.
One of the many sweet parts of this story is that Mrs. Bailey, who we adore, was so worried about wasting the packed lunch and was concerned that Noah spent the money that he came to school with on something he didn’t need. Her heart is so good.
But, as I quickly told Mrs. Bailey, this story is honestly one of the greatest ever! Our five year old son took money to school, opened a lunch account and then ate the lunch. And now eats more lunch every day then he would if he packed a lunch because he is so proud. And we are so proud!
But now I needed to learn how to fund Noah’s lunch account so a couple of days later I went to the office with my questions. I had a little bit of cash with me, but learned that I could just add to Noah’s account online. But before I left, on a whim I gave the small amount of money to the office and asked them to pass it on to the cafeteria in case there is any student who might need a little lunch money that week. I later found out that there was a very grateful recipient on the other end of that small gesture.
This has been on my mind now consistently. I went to the office with more questions. Are there children who are going without lunch? Are there families with lunch debt? What about breakfast?
The truth is, as in the majority of schools, there are always some children who could use a little additional help. There are programs available for those in need, but not all families know about them, or search out the paperwork needed or even know where to start. We have now talked about this as a family and we’ve decided that we want to help to make sure that children don’t have to worry about whether or not they will be able to get a lunch on any given day. We will have lemonade stands and bake sales and we will do everything we can to help in our little corner of the world. And if we raise more than is currently needed, we will pass it on to the next school… and so on.
Perhaps you can give a little toward our cause and that would be wonderful. This is a case in which a little really does go a long way!
One week of regular priced lunches for one child is $10.25
But for children who qualify for reduced lunch it is much less.
Every donation, no matter the amount, will make a big difference.